802.11k and 802.11r are both standards designed to create a more seamless roaming experience for wireless clients. This is particularly useful for VoIP or other applications where long roaming times can result in a very noticeable impact on performance.
Each repeater Access Point in a Cisco Meraki network transmits and receives the signal it receives from its gateway (Wired) Access Point so that other unwired Access Points (repeaters) in the network can share the connection and extend the range. Cisco Meraki repeaters use a mesh algorithm to determine the best route between APs to a gateway AP that is physically connected to your LAN/WAN.
The exact performance of MR Access Points will vary based on the deployment parameters. Assuming correct sizing and proper site design, a well designed network can support high-density client scenarios including schools, universities, stadiums and Wi-Fi hotspots at crowded locations.
Access points generate a unique MAC address for each different SSID and each radio, known as a BSSID. This distinction is necessary so client devices are able to communicate to the proper SSID at Layer 2. It is possible to identify 802.11 traffic from a specific access point by finding these BSSIDs.
This article discusses channel planning best practices for an 802.11 wireless deployment. APs should be deployed in such a manner that wireless clients experience minimal packet loss and choose the AP with the strongest signal when roaming. In order to achieve this, neighboring APs will need to be close enough so that their coverage cells have some overlap.
This article describes how to test and monitor signal strength and throughput on a Cisco Meraki wireless network. This can be especially useful when determining MR Access Point placement during network setup and site surveys.
Roaming is a client side decision in 802.11 WiFi. Client devices listen for beacon frames or send probe requests to discover APs advertising the preferred SSID. The clients driver uses the received signal strength of beacons or probe responses to make decisions on whether to change APs or remain connected to the current AP. In terms of roaming, there are several points to keep in mind:
There are a wide variety of devices that can cause interference on your 802.11 wireless network. If you suspect that your network is experiencing interference from other sources, look for items on this list as possible suspects.
Prior to any wireless deployment, it is strongly recommended to perform a site survey to fully understand the RF environment. Meraki Access Points can be configured to broadcast an SSID for performing these surveys, this is useful to see how effective the AP would be at covering an area once deployed.
Many organizations require two wireless networks (formally known as SSIDs) for client access. In most cases, the desired end result is one SSID for internal users - a secure encrypted extension of the wired LAN - and a second SSID that provides Internet-only access to your guests with minimal administrative overhead. This article describes how to configure, name and enable each SSID so that each provides the proper level of access to connected clients.
Cisco Meraki Access Points (APs) support up to fifteen concurrent SSIDs, each with its own access controls and firewall rules. Educators may find it necessary to create separate SSIDs for faculty, students, and guests. The steps below provide examples of SSIDs with different tiers of access by using firewall and traffic shaping rules.
The basic properties of a Cisco Meraki wireless network, such as network name and SSID name, can be updated from Dashboard on the SSID page. This can be beneficial if you want to create additional SSIDs for separate departments or you want to update the current SSID you are using.
Cisco Meraki APs can operate as mesh repeaters, which allows them to extend the wireless network range off of a limited number of gateway APs. Since repeaters also support wired clients plugged into their wired interface, a repeater can be used to bridge a remote LAN segment back to the main network. This article explains how the LAN can be extended via a wireless bridge, including limitations and requirements.
Power plays a big role in the performance of outdoor access points. Additionally, there are numerous elements to consider with outdoor deployments, including lightning strikes. This article outlines how to mitigate lightning and other adverse electrical events.
A Meraki gateway is an AP in the Meraki mesh that has direct route to Internet connection over a wired connection. Repeater APs route client and management traffic through the Meraki gateway. A Meraki mesh network requires at least 1 working gateway AP to be operational. The gateway AP should be the first AP you install in your network. Any model of Meraki AP can function as a gateway.
Described in the 802.11i standard (section 126.96.36.199.1), there exists a methodology by which clients undergoing an 802.1x authentication process can skip the EAP exchange whilst roaming between APs. This technique is known as PMK (Pairwise Master Key) caching.
As a wireless client roams in an area covered by Meraki APs advertising the same SSID, it will try and associate to the AP that provides the strongest signal. The wireless adapter on the client device measures the RSSI on received frames sent by APs in order to make roaming decisions.
When wireless issues spring up they can be hard to diagnose, this guide will show some ways in which the Cisco Meraki Dashboard is capable of speeding up that process and giving some valuable information about the wireless environment itself.
Wireless networking is a broad topic with a lot of considerations, which can make a wireless network difficult to understand and optimize. This article covers a number of core concepts of wireless networking, especially as they apply to the Meraki MR product line.
In a Meraki network, "mesh repeaters" are AP's without a wired path to the cloud. Repeaters rely on other mesh repeaters and or "mesh gateways" to route client traffic towards Internet. Mesh repeaters make use of mesh routing metrics to determine the best quality route to use when forwarding client traffic. Any Meraki AP can function as a mesh repeater*. At least one mesh gateway must be installed on the network before you add a mesh repeater.
Jitter is defined as a variation in the delay of received packets. At the sending side, packets are sent in a continuous stream with the packets spaced evenly apart. Due to network congestion, improper queuing, or configuration errors, this steady stream can become lumpy, or the delay between each packet can vary instead of remaining constant.
Modulation is the act of changing a signal to transmit useful data. There are three aspects of a signal that can be modulated; amplitude, frequency, and phase. The amplitude is the power or intensity of the signal, the frequency is how often the signal repeated itself, and the phase describes where in the cycle the waveform is with respect to time. This article discusses the topic of modulation, and describes how it is relevant to wireless communication.